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Uncle Albert Trotter

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Uncle Albert Trotter
Uncle Albert
Portrayer Buster Merryfield (1985-1997)
First seen "Strained Relations"
Last seen "Comic Relief Special"
Duration 1985-1997
Profile
Date of birth November 19, 1920 (died circa late 2001)
Occupation Sailor
Retired
Family Ada (wife)
Ted (brother)
George (brother)
Jack (brother)
Reg (nephew)
Joan (niece-in-law)
Derek (great nephew)
Rodney (great nephew)

Albert Gladstone Trotter, usually referred to as "Uncle Albert", was the great uncle of Del Boy and Rodney and long-lost brother of Edward 'Grandad' Trotter. He appeared in Only Fools and Horses from 1985 to 1996.

Background

Albert was born in 1920 in Tobacco Road, Peckham. His siblings included Edward, George and Jack. He joined the Royal Navy in 1937, and two years later was called to action following the outbreak of the Second World War. He fought in most theatres of the conflict, from the Russian convoys to the Pacific, won seven medals and was sunk seven times in a period of four years. He was on watch duty on HMS Peerless when it sunk after crashing into an American aircraft carrier and was court martialled. He escaped prosecution because his papers were lost when Singapore fell to the Japanese soon after.[1]

Despite his tales of his wartime exploits, the defence counsel in "Hole in One" stated that Albert actually spent much of the war stationed in a storage depot on the Isle of Wight. During this time, he was given basic parachute training and learned how to fall without injuring himself, a skill he put to use after the war by purposely falling down pub cellars in order to gain compensation money.[2]

Albert joined the Merchant Navy after the war and at some point he married Ada, although they were subsequently estranged and he stated they "didn't talk to each other for years".[3] Ada reputedly told relatives that she would kill Albert if she ever saw him again.[4] It is unspecified whether they had any children. He told Rodney that he and Edward (Grandad) fell out over Ada and as a result didn't speak again. Much later, it is stated that Albert and Elsie Partridge had been childhood sweethearts who were separated by the war. In retirement, Albert lived with (and was abadoned by) a series of relatives, including Del and Rodney's cousin Stan and his wife Jean.

Only Fools and Horses

Uncle Albert, as he was known by his two great-nephews, Del Boy and Rodney, was first seen in Only Fools and Horses when he appeared at Grandad's funeral. He dozed off in the Trotters' flat and Stan and Jean took their chance to abandon him. With some resignation, Del agreed to let Albert stay with them.

Albert was famed for telling stories that often began with the words "During the war...", which often annoyed Del and Rodney but sometimes caught their interest. In Albert's final appearance in the series ("Time On Our Hands", the third and final chapter of the 1996 Christmas trilogy), a frustrated Del cuts Albert off at "During the..." threatening to pour a cup of tea over his head should he complete the sentence. Albert cunningly says, "During the 1939-1945 conflict with Germany..."

Albert had a female friend called Elsie Partridge (who was seen in one episode, "Sickness and Wealth"). He also took a fancy to Marlene's mother Dora, and he and his old rival Knock-Knock competed for her affections, resulting in them having a fight. His nephews often teased him about this as well as his ability to sink ships and, with his bald head and big white beard, his resemblance to Captain Birdseye.

After the Trotters came into their fortune, Albert shunned the jetsetting lifestyle adopted by Del and Rodney, preferring to settle down on the coast with Elsie Partridge. His nephews consoled themselves with the thought that he couldn't have traveled the world with them anyway, as the "ancient mariner" never actually held a British passport. Soon after going bankrupt, they learned from Elsie Partridge's son that Albert had passed away.

In "Strangers on the Shore", Albert was invited to a naval reunion, and Del and Rodney decided to attend in his honour (and double it up as a booze cruise). They visited a French village called St. Claire a la Chappelle, where Albert had been stationed during the war, only to find the entire village inhabited by bald men with white beards who all bore more than a passing resemblance to their late uncle. They joked about how it should have been called "Trottersville". Then in "Sleepless in Peckham", Del and Rodney attended the reading of Albert's will, and learned that he had invested his share of the Trotter fortune much more shrewdly than they had, and left them £145,000 each, meaning all their financial troubles were over.

Notes

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